No lies, I follow the Gourmet Traveller Recipe for this one.  It has treated me well in the past and all that seems to need improvement is my decision making when figuring out what formation my buns will take each year.  This time it’s flower clusters:  one glazed, one dusted.  Depending if you are Hot Cross Bun purist or not, make this recipe with your choice of dried fruit and/or chocolate chips like some bakeries like to do (and frankly speaking, they’re gosh darn delicious!)

These are organic wheat flour buns.  Gluten free bread making is somewhat impossible when you’re trying to replicate the taste and texture of it’s wheat-y grandfather.  When there are special (and important) occasions like these where I am baking for wheat eaters, sometimes I just go for an organic wheat flour… The easter bunny made me do it!

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Classic Hot Cross Buns (PTJ Adaptation From Gourmet Traveller Australia)

You will need:
700g sifted organic plain flour
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
pinch of sea salt
2tsp (14g) dried yeast (make sure it’s the freshest unopened packet available for the best activity)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
350g raisins or a mixture of whatever dried fruit and/or chocolate chips you like (e.g. dark chocolate & orange peel)
the rind of 1 orange, grated finely
300ml milk
100g unsalted grass fed butter, cubed
1 egg

rice bran or coconut oil for greasing
50g plain flour
cold water

4-8 tbsp orange marmalade (for glazed buns)
extra flour (for dusted buns)

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, spices, and orange peel in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.  Warm the milk and butter in a heavy saucepan until the butter has melted and the milk is tepid warm (blood temperature).  Take off the heat and whisk in the egg.  Note: If the milk is too hot it will scramble the egg.  Next stir in the yeast and wait for it to bloom – a froth will start to form on top of the milk.  Pour the milk mixture into the flour well and whisk from the middle, slowly incorporating more and more flour from the walls of the well.  This will make a smooth dough because it eliminates lumps.  Turn onto a well floured surface and knead like you’ve never kneaded before.  You want to activate the glutens in the flour so that it becomes more elastic.  This will take about 10mins until smooth.  Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a dark, warm place for the dough to double in size (about 1/2hr).  Once doubled, tip back onto your surface and knock all the air out of the dough.  Roll into a long sausage shape and cut into 16 even pieces by dividing the sausage into half, then quarters, etc. with a sharp knife.  Knead each piece into a ball, working quickly so that the dough doesn’t dry out, then place either into a 22cm greased square baking tin or form into flowers like I have (there will be 2 spares which i toss onto the baking tray and have as a baker’s afternoon tea fresh out of the oven!)

Cover again and put back into the dark, warm spot for another 1/2 hr of rising.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220C and clear space for the middle rack.  Make a paste out of the extra flour a little less than 1/4 cup of cold water.  Tip into a piping bag with a narrow, round nozzle to pipe crosses on your buns.  It is easier to pipe straight rows (instead of individually piping each bun) and then the perpendicular way too.  Slide into your hot oven and bake 10mins, then lower to 200C and bake a further 10mins until the tops are brown and they are hollow when lightly tapped.

To glaze, warm the marmalade in a small saucepan until it melts, then brush onto the buns as they come out of the oven.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely while you eat your spare bun with a cup of tea.  If you just want to dust your buns, don’t glaze them… just sift some plain flour over all of them and leave on a rack to cool.